December’s lecturer, Robert Lancaster, brought an array of examples and a wealth of knowledge of his subject, Dorset clay pipes. By looking at the size and shape of the bowl, and any imprints on the bowl or stem, he could identify the period of a pipe and frequently the location and name of its maker. Pipes were often given away with the purchase of beer or tobacco, and so pipe-makers were usually poor and illiterate. In Wareham in 2011-12 Robert excavated the site of the kiln of Augustus Moore, who in 1834 was convicted of theft and sentenced to be transported for seven years. It is doubtful whether he ever returned to his five children and wife Sarah, who was listed as a pauper in 1861. The advent of cigarettes at much the same time put paid to the craft of clay pipe-making. Members of the audience, including Shaftesbury students Ella and Bethany, were intrigued by Mr Lancaster’s account of the rise and fall, and the bewildering variety, of clay pipes.
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